Race Report: Rosberg Dominates 53-lap Race That Wasn’t Just About The Start

Nico Rosberg secured a surprising 7th win of the season after the hotly tipped Lewis Hamilton got off the line sluggishly from pole and then failed to get into a rhythm that emulated his pace on Saturday.

When the lights went out, Hamilton got bogged down in first gear and was eaten up by the Ferrari’s, Rosberg, Bottas and Ricciardo. It jeopardized his opening stint, but it isn’t the full story. Even when the Brit was in clean air, he could only match the pace of his team-mate ahead. There were also periods after the pit-stop in which Rosberg was banging in laps 0.5s quicker than Hamilton as he managed the gap at around 10-13s throughout the race.

If the race is just about the start, we should begin having one-lap Grand Prix for the rest of the season. When Hamilton wins and Rosberg has an incident in the race, we call it fantastic pace, utter dominance. When Rosberg puts in a similar performance, as he has done today, we look to what went wrong with Hamilton and find a singular reason. Isn’t the reason behind Rosberg winning the race simply that… He was faster? Hamilton isn’t giving a list of excuses, so why should his loyal pundit base?  The Mercedes drivers head to Singapore only two-points apart.

Ferrari had a great race and have narrowed the gap to 2nd in the Constructors after Vettel finished 3rd with Kimi 4th. It was a smooth weekend for the team and the Tifosi soaked up their red driver on the podium.

Ricciardo did well to finish 5th ahead of Valtteri Bottas. The Aussie pulled a gutsy move from deep into turn-one and the Finn left the door open, almost not anticipating attack. The smiling assassin crept up the inside and got good drive out of the corner.

Max Verstappen had a quiet weekend. He had a bad start but recovered to finish 7th. Points on the board but he lacked the sharpness of Ricciardo this weekend. Force India’s astonishing lack of competitiveness at Monza saw Perez finish 8th and Hulkenberg 10th with the Williams of Felipe Massa sandwiched between in 9th. The result has seen Williams reclaim 4th in the Constructors but only by three-points.

Elsewhere, Esteban Gutierrez undid all of his hard work on Saturday by losing 10-places on the opening lap. Haas tried the one-stop with Grosjean, who finished 11th. If it isn’t one Haas finishing 11th, it’s the other. McLaren had a poor race and never looked on for points but Alonso and Button provided some entertainment in the closing stages, Button pulling a decent overtake on the Spaniard.

Jolyon Palmer’s race was ruined early by an overly aggressive Felipe Nasr, both cars eventually retired from the race as a rasult of the incident.

The result see’s the title race between the Mercedes drivers get even tighter and Rosberg won at a majority of the remaining circuits on the calendar this season. Contrary to the popular interpretation of today’s race, Rosberg was impressive for 53-laps and wasn’t gifted the win by Hamilton’s poor start. Hamilton showed his tenacity fighting back for 2nd and Singapore will see both drivers have to deal with Red Bull, who will be extremely competitive.